My son is visiting from Northern Ireland this week, which is a real blessing, as we don’t see enough of him. It is his birthday at the end of the month, so I have a gift ready so he can take it back with him. Although he might be pleased to receive a gift, the only way for him to be really blessed is for him to open it and to make good use of what we have given him. There will be a card with some money inside, so that he can choose to spend it on what he really needs! What a waste it would be if he took the gift, and put it away somewhere without ever opening it!
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. We first receive the gift of faith, when we hear and respond to the word of God, but that is just the beginning of our journey.
We have all been given a gift or gifts, and a measure of faith distributed by God, to enable us to fulfill the role that we have been called to in the body of Christ, according to the grace given to us. (Romans 12:3-8)
Consider the story of the widow of Zarephath – a woman who responded to the word of God with obedience, and by faith used the gift that she had been given. In 1 Kings chapter 17 God directs Elijah to a town called Zarephath, during a time of drought, and He directs a widow there to provide for him. This woman has endured a season of great difficulty, she has a young son to look after and because of the drought the country has been hit by famine. By the time she meets with Elijah she is collecting fuel to cook the small amount of food that she has left – this is going to be their last meal.
Yet her heart is still soft, and she responds with obedience to the word of God spoken by Elijah. She recognises him as a man of God, and when she hears the word of God through His prophet, she responds – not just with words but with obedience. She was listening well…. Listening Skills
“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”2 John 1:6
She is willing to take the little she has and offer a meal first to Elijah, and then by faith to believe that there will still be enough for her and her son.
It should be easy to give and to share out of our surplus, but how much harder is it to share out of our own portion, when we are called to give sacrificially…
She only has a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug, such a small amount, but the word of God for her at this time is to believe in His supernatural provision. What she has will be sufficient, her supplies will not run out, until the drought has ended.
Her jar and jug would be made of pottery, not glass, so she would not be able to see what was in there – but each day she was to trust in God that when she put her hand in the jar there would be enough flour and when she went to pour from the jug there would be enough oil! Truly walking in faith, and daily depending on God, to exercise her gift of hospitality.
Our faith is strengthened and grows in use, it does not grow in storage!Tweet
Faith is not a feeling, it is taking God at his word.
We can be honest with God about our feelings, but despite how we are feeling, take him at His word. When we do and put our trust in God, he provides not just for our physical needs, but also for our emotional and spiritual needs. Fear is replaced by faith as we start to step out and use the gifts that He has given us.
“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”2 Timothy 1:6-7
- Faith is received by hearing and responding to the Word of God.
- Faith is choosing to obey and trust in God, even through the difficult and desperate times.
- Faith is being willing to use the gift that we have been given in the service of God.
- Faith is sacrificial giving – with a generous spirit.
- Faith is confidence in God – in His goodness and faithfulness to us.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.Hebrews 10:23
Prayer: Lord help me in faith, to choose to take you at your word. Help me to trust in you in those times when I can’t see the way forward. Release me from the restrictions of fear into the abundance of your grace and the freedom of your love. Help me to be willing to respond to the needs of others, and to use the gifts that you have given, for your praise and glory. Amen.
Some other link-ups I join can be found here.